Cook: Think tank’s effort to discredit union fails

From The Detroit News

Public school employees work in a field that is both challenging and rewarding. Their dedication to their students and their profession should be recognized and lauded. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Public school employees have not been treated well by politicians and special interest groups in recent years.

One group in particular, the Mackinac Center, has spent considerable time and resources attacking public education and school employees. The center, which touts itself as a “think tank,” is corporately funded. These corporations seek to carve out their profit from taxpayers who fund the $15 billion public school budget. They use their investment in the Mackinac Center to fund one sided “studies” attacking public schools, which are then repeated as fact by the media. Those same corporations (and their campaign contributions) hold considerable influence over the Republican Legislature.

The studies are peddled to legislators, imploring them to privatize public education, which in turn enriches the corporations who fund the Mackinac Center. The return on those corporate investments is evident, as shown by the dramatic growth of privatization in public schools. The wave of private sector profit making began with support services, such as custodial/maintenance and food services and continues with the increase in on-line cyber schools at the expense of funding traditional neighborhood schools. The Mackinac Center’s push for privatization of public education led lawmakers to remove the cap on for-profit charter schools—making Michigan home to the largest number of for-profit charters in the nation.

The Michigan Education Association has stood as the one road block to this scheme… Read More>>